The first major upgrade of the N3 corridor is due to start early next year at Lynnfield Park and Ashburton and is expected to last 36 months.This is according to the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (Sanral) Eastern Region regional manager, Dumisani Nkabinde, who said the section of road created huge traffic problems.Sanral intends to start the project at Ashburton and at the Phakhathi Interchange in Durban as these stretches of roads posed the biggest challenges.“These first upgrades at Ashburton are very big projects,” said Nkabinde, adding that because the road was at full capacity it urgently needed to be one of the first to be done in the province.Sanral is planning to widen the road where there only two lanes to three lanes. Nkabinde said that while they were looking at a project of 36 months duration, they had no plans to close off any lanes during the upgrade.“The road has two lanes [and] it will remain as two lanes during the construction,” he added.Nkabinde added that Sanral wanted to put an end to stop and gos during road works, especially where they are widening lanes.While there will be no road closures, motorists can still expect disruptions to be caused by the construction process. “If there is a lot of activity going on next to you (like road works) one tends to drive more slowly to try and see what is going on,” Nkabinde said. He added that the upgrades between Durban and Pietermaritzburg would cost around R20 to R22 billion.“As well as widening sections of road and increasing lane numbers we will be building lots of new bridges and will ensure the corridor is fully lighted.“It [the corridor] is going to look like a whole new world at the end of the upgrades,” he said.Without the upgrades, Sanral believes road users will continue to pay the price of accidents and time delays, which are estimated to cost around R800 million a year.Sanral says the corridor has already reached its full capacity with sections of the N3 subject to severe wear-and-tear. This includes the Peter Brown Bridge, which was damaged at the end of 2016 when a truck crashed into one of the supporting pillars.While repairs to the bridge have been postponed multiple times, it appears that construction on the bridge and the road leading up to it will now start in early 2020.All the Sanral projects will be going to tender in the next two months, with the upgrades expected to get underway early next year. Sanral hopes to create around 15 000 jobs during the expansion and upgrade of the N3 corridor with the roads agency looking to work with small and medium-size businesses to help grow the country’s economy.